Friday, March 26, 2004

Tip #10: Meet the needs of all learning styles.

In order to set learners up to be successful, a training program must incorporate learning activities that meet the needs of different learning styles.

There are many different models that describe learning styles. The Perceptual Learning Styles model is relatively easy to use, because it is based on the senses.

A person who learns best through:

  1. reading books, journals, or magazines, and writing assignments is a PRINT learner.

  2. listening to lectures and audio tapes is an AURAL learner.

  3. verbalization in small group discussions, question-and-answer sessions, and debate activities is an INTERACTIVE learner.

  4. observation of films, videotapes, pictures, slides, graphs, tables, and demonstrations is a VISUAL learner.

  5. touch in a "hands on" approach to learning, such as project construction, drawing, and model building, is a HAPTIC learner.

  6. movement, by participating in simulations, physical motion activities, and physical games, is a KINESTHETIC learner.

If a learning activity involves participant discussion, a worksheet, written reference materials, and audiovisual aids, it can easily accommodate most, if not all, learning styles. The PRINT learner is satisfied by the worksheet and the written materials. The AURAL and INTERACTIVE learners are satisfied with the discussion. The VISUAL learner is satisfied by the audiovisual aids. The HAPTIC learner is satisfied by completing the worksheet.

Generally, it is the KINESTHETIC learner who needs additional consideration through the incorporation of some type of movement (standing up to write at a flip chart, changing seats to work in a different group, or physical movement in a game or simulation, etc.).

Tip #11: Engage as many senses as possible.

The more senses engaged in the learning process, the greater likelihood that new learning will be retained. According to Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience and Learning, we tend to remember: 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we hear and see, 70% of what we say, and 90% of what we both say and do. That is why it is so important to actively involve participants in learning activities which require them to verbally interact and to physically apply their new learning.

In Tip #12, we will look more closely at the impact of physical movement on learning and retention.

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